Magyar Nemzet and Népszava on the weekend demonstrations

This morning among the comments I found a couple of references to the biases of Magyar Nemzet and Népszava. The latter was labelled a newspaper of MSZP while someone called Magyar Nemzet Fidesz’s Pravda.

There’s no question that on the front page of Népszava one can read: “Szociáldemokrata napilap.” As far as I know, the paper does get some money from MSZP but not enough to overcome its precarious financial situation. One manifestation of its financial woes: people who used to be regular contributors to the op/ed page are no longer willing to write their columns for nothing. Tamás Mészáros, who for a while disappeared from the pages of Népszava, returned recently, most likely because he feels it his duty to help the paper along. Magyar Nemzet, on the other hand, is doing just fine financially, especially since 2010. The government helps it along with its generous advertising. The number of subscriptions also soared after the formation of the second Orbán government: government offices order multiple copies of the paper, an indirect subsidy to the government’s favorite paper.

Quite a few years back I compared the news of one day as it appeared in Magyar Nemzet and in Népszava. The result? As if these two papers were reporting on two different countries. This time I decided to compare not news items but opinion pieces on the weekend’s political demonstrations. I will refrain from making a judgment on the coverage.

Magyar Nemzet came out with two opinion pieces, one by Zsuzsanna Körmendy and another by Tamás Fricz.  Here I will focus on Körmendy’s piece, entitled “Nasty campaign” (Komisz kampány). Its main theme is that while the Fidesz mass demonstration on Saturday was “demure and balanced,” the opposition’s Sunday demonstration was “nervous.” The prime minister’s speech was inspirational and stirring and the demonstrators peaceful. The opposition, however, made fun of them: some people played an old movement song entitled “Our future is one with the party and the people.” This is how it is: “the domestic right for the opposition is either fascist or communist.” Sometimes both at the same time. “What can we say? If we visit a psychiatric ward we have to suffer with a straight face when the patients loudly call us idiots.”

The Peace March has nothing do with Rákosi but with that great experience in April 2002 when Viktor Orbán made a rousing speech in defense of his government and announced that “the nation cannot be in opposition.” It was at that time that many people “discovered their calling to the cause.”

Körmendy didn’t expect much from the opposition, but “one hasn’t heard that much stupidity in the longest time.” The most amusing stupidity came from Ferenc Gyurcsány who told his audience to vote for the opposition because then the sun will shine. Gábor Fodor talked at length about the twelve points of the revolutionary youth in 1848 and dwelt on the union with Transylvania but quickly switched to the union with Europe. “So, Belgium and Austria became part of our country except these countries don’t know anything about it yet.” The third stupidest speech was delivered by Tímea Szabó who “wanted to overthrow not Viktor Orbán’s government but Viktor Orbán himself.” It was, she adds, “quite embarrassing.”  Bajnai kept talking to those who were not present. “This way there was no possibility that someone would talk back to him.” Mesterházy’s focus was on “Orbán’s dictatorship which harks back to the Horthy regime, feudalism, and Bolshevism.”

A scene from the opposition rally on March 30, 2014 Source: MTI/János Marjai

A scene from the opposition rally on March 30, 2014
Source: MTI/János Marjai

Finally, Körmendy criticizes the patriotism that was “overemphasized by the left-wing speakers.” Fodor was pre-occupied with 1848, Bajnai talked about the well-known song about Lajos Kossuth, Gyurcsány also began his speech with patriotism. Körmendy suspects that “their speeches were written for March 15, which they were too lazy to rewrite.” On the other hand, “we could hear about the essence of patriotism from Vikor Orbán who said: ‘to be Hungarian also means that one is never satisfied with one’s own government, but if necessary, one always stands by it.'”

The socialist and liberal papers downplayed–in fact, practically ignored–the demonstrations. There was only one short editorial in Népszabadság that referred to the two demonstrations. The author’s conclusion is that the voters have already decided and that the two demonstrations made no difference one way or the other. By contrast, Tamás Fricz in Magyar Nemzet views Fidesz’s ability to gather a larger crowd than the opposition psychologically important.

In Népszava only a very short editorial by János Dési, no more than about 200 words, appeared. Dési considers the Sunday demonstration a sign that “the opposition must be taken seriously.” Fidesz underestimates the united opposition which, after all, was able to motivate a large number of people to go out to demonstrate. “The politicians of the opposition know what they are doing.” The organization was good, the speeches were effective and “prove that there is hope. There are many people who want an independent European Hungary.” That’s all I could find.

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50 comments

  1. Do no Magyar Nemzet readers understand that the newspaper’s hate-based, intolerant, judgmental nature undermines the Christian faith they profess? Can no Fidesz supporter stand up and say, “I support nationalism, nationalization and state control, and I dislike the EU, but this does not mean I want to read malicious propaganda day by day?”

  2. Totally OT (I posted this already on pol.hu for the loonies there):

    Breaking news:

    To show that the Hungarian government really believes in saving the enviroment, his Excellency Mr. Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s popular and charismatic prime minister today announced that everybody who collects and brings at least a thousand empty mineral water bottles or beer cans to his office or the Fidesz headquarters will be rewarded with a portrait of his Excellency Mr. Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s popular and charismatic prime minister, signed by his Excellency Mr. Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s popular and charismatic prime minister himself …

    PS: If you bring pálinka bottles, 100 will be enough!

    Btw:

    What happened to our new trolls, “hate” and Spicoli? Did you ban them or didn’t they enjoy the reception they got here?

  3. Pensioner, wo had no job :

    The comparison of Fidesz mass and the mass of united leftist opposition here:
    http://www.politics.hu/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/demo-numbers-600×399.jpg
    Enormous difference!

    Yes. Look at all those people who was bussed into Budapest from all over Hungary from taxpayers money. Money well spent!
    THe “independent” Peace March clearly was paid by Fidesz as many proof emerged (read previous blog comments on the subject. Fidesz way overspent the legally allowed. (The limits buy the way were set by the Fidesz.)
    Here is an other photo to compare. In the background you can see Hero’s Square, and intron of it are all the willing participants: http://blogs.cfr.org/asia/files/2011/07/20110704_PyongyangRally.jpg

  4. Election.
    1.
    As of March 31, officials received 54,658 votes in mail.

    THey opened 11,202 outer envelopes and found 8,462 to be valid.

    http://www.nvi.hu/hu/ogyv2014/853/853_0.html

    2. The number of people signed up to elect a fidesznik Gypsy ethnic representative has been falling.

    Since Fidesz could not reach the 20,000+ number to get an extra seat in Parliament, almost 3 thousand people de-registered from voting for the Gypsy seat to be able to vote for the party list.

  5. Election.

    3.
    The number of ethnic Hungarians with no Hungarian adress, who are eligible to vote in mail, and whose registration has been accepted is 195,353. Officials received 231,864 registrations.

    By extrapolation, I estimate that the number of new citizens who registered a Hungarian address to vote in election districts as well, could be as high as 130,000.

    The number of Hungarians working abroad with Hungarian address, whose registration and voting hurdles are higher, stands at only 28,155.

  6. Election.

    4.
    As of 12:46 today, there are more than 2,000 precincts where there are no opposition vote counters, only Fidesz vote counters.

    To put in another way,

    vote counters for (the united opposition/Fidesz) = 76.5%

  7. Some1 :

    Yes. Look at all those people who was bussed into Budapest from all over Hungary from taxpayers money. Money well spent!
    THe “independent” Peace March clearly was paid by Fidesz as many proof emerged (read previous blog comments on the subject. Fidesz way overspent the legally allowed. (The limits buy the way were set by the Fidesz.)
    Here is an other photo to compare. In the background you can see Hero’s Square, and intron of it are all the willing participants: http://blogs.cfr.org/asia/files/2011/07/20110704_PyongyangRally.jpg

    Of course. The people at the Fidesz demonstration came from all over the country while the rally of the opposition was basically a local affair. I would be curious how big the Fidesz demonstration would have been if they had to rely only on the people of Budapest.

  8. OT
    How did Rogan, the leader of Fidesz’ Parliamentary group acquired millions of forints worth of luxury condos for him and his wife????
    It turns out that Rogan (FIDESZ / Orban man) had to correct his tax papers over and over and over again after filing. If the regular Hungarians would be so lucky. I guess Rogan enjoys the retroactivity that comes with Fidesz. lol Also with his salary it is unlikely that he was able to purchase two of those luxury condos, and some other perks. In the condo complex there are other well to do Fidesz friends (one with 9 tobacco shops from the Fidesz’ traffic mutyi). I think at this point the least of Fidesz’ problem should be how Simon is performing. What are they going to do about Rogan who is a current politician, active in Fidesz? How was he able to pull this off without Orban knowing about it?

  9. Zsuzsanna Körmendy fell for Orbán’s aphorism:

    “we could hear about the essence of patriotism from Viktor Orbán who said: ‘to be Hungarian also means that one is never satisfied with one’s own government, but if necessary, one always stands by it.’”

    But this is in fact both plagiarism and falsification. The original is by Edward Abbey — and it figures in every popular collection of great quotes (from which Orbán’s speechwriters ‘Hungarized’ and twisted it to its opposite:

    “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”
    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/patriot.html

  10. Partiality of the “public” or state media:

    The official news agency MTI has written 43 times about the [ex-MSzP] Simon case in the last weeks.

    It has written about the [Fidesz faction chairman] Rogan case exactly 0 times.

    The moneys involved are of the same magnitude, say 0.3 billion HUF.

    Most newspapers and radio stations simply rebroadcast MTI news without any change.
    (it is free), they do not use any other news source.

    http://index.hu/belfold/2014/04/01/mti_rogan_vs_simon_0-43/

  11. Eva, read yur article on Galamus. Hopefully it will bring some more new readers to your blog. Thanks for continuing the good work.

  12. Tappanch writes: “Hungarian students performed the WORST among OECD non-immigrant students in categories “planning and executing” and “monitoring and reflecting”.

    I am not surprised many of the commenters evidently studied there….

  13. @Louis Kovach

    Well, the performance of the students had significantly deteriorated since the previous PISA test in 2009.

  14. tappanch :

    PISA 2012:

    Hungarian students performed the WORST among OECD non-immigrant students in categories “planning and executing” and “monitoring and reflecting”.

    In the latter category, even Turkish students outperformed the Hungarians.

    See p. 216 of
    http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/PISA-2012-results-volume-V.pdf

    The other day, I read with considerable horror that in Hungary 2 out of every 5 adult are functionally illiterate. In the United States, not known for its high academic standards, the situation is better. Only 2 people out of 5 have difficulties understanding written texts.

  15. Pensioner, wo had no job :

    Eva S. Balogh :
    For those of you who read Hungarian. I was asked to write an article about Orbán’s four years for Galamus. It appeared today:
    http://www.galamuscsoport.hu/tartalom/cikk/370511_az_elore_eltervezett_negy_ev

    The comparison of Fidesz mass and the mass of united leftist opposition here:
    http://www.politics.hu/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/demo-numbers-600×399.jpg
    Enormous difference!

    Others have already responded to this transparent piece of propaganda (actually, it was already posted by another troll the other day), but the illustration itself should not go unchallanged: if we believed this rectangle overlay, then the opposition demonstrators had filled no more than three buildings’ length of Andrássy Avenue. What I saw on the ground was different from that. So regardless of which crowd was bigger, please next time try to come up with a remotely credible estimation.

  16. Dr Balogh writes: “The other day, I read with considerable horror that in Hungary 2 out of every 5 adult are functionally illiterate. In the United States, not known for its high academic standards, the situation is better. Only 2 people out of 5 have difficulties understanding written texts.”

    So two out of five is better than two out of five?

  17. Louis Kovach :
    Tappanch writes: “Hungarian students performed the WORST among OECD non-immigrant students in categories “planning and executing” and “monitoring and reflecting”.
    I am not surprised many of the commenters evidently studied there….

    ohhh Louis, you need some math refreshment yourself. Fortunately for Hungary you were not part of the test or they would of scored worst.
    15 years old students were tested two years ago. Are you saying that the participants of the blog are 17 years old? Eva, you are forever young!
    You are scaring me, just like many of Fidesz supporters who do not know to much about the word around them , and running around with false propaganda and live on assumptions.

  18. 1.
    The Orban government decreed today to give an extra 26.6 billion forints in the next three days to the government employees, to make them happier just before the election.

    http://hvg.hu/gazdasag/20140401_Milliardok_a_kozalkalmazottaknak

    —————-
    2.
    The only television station leaning the opposition is to be punished financially.

    A)
    ATV was the only television that broadcast the opposition rally on Sunday. It also broadcast the Fidesz rally on Saturday, alongside the several channels. The charge is that there were opposition commercials on the site of the opposition demonstration during the live broadcast.

    B)
    The Kuria court ordered the private television ATV that it must include a Jobbik representative in the debate it organizes among different party representatives.

    ATV organized the debate, since “public” and other commercial channels declined any debate, since Orban said he would not attend them.

    http://lb.hu/hu/valhat/kvkii3739720143-szamu-hatarozat

  19. tappanch :
    1.
    The Orban government decreed today to give an extra 26.6 billion forints in the next three days to the government employees, to make them happier just before the election.
    http://hvg.hu/gazdasag/20140401_Milliardok_a_kozalkalmazottaknak
    —————-
    2.
    The only television station leaning the opposition is to be punished financially.
    A)
    ATV was the only television that broadcast the opposition rally on Sunday. It also broadcast the Fidesz rally on Saturday, alongside the several channels. The charge is that there were opposition commercials on the site of the opposition demonstration during the live broadcast.
    B)
    The Kuria court ordered the private television ATV that it must include a Jobbik representative in the debate it organizes among different party representatives.
    ATV organized the debate, since “public” and other commercial channels declined any debate, since Orban said he would not attend them.
    http://lb.hu/hu/valhat/kvkii3739720143-szamu-hatarozat

    So, does this san they will fine TV 2 and the others for showing Orban’s speech with the large FIDESZ logo ahead of him?

  20. THere is no one who wants to operate one of the new stadiums Orban / Fidesz built from taxpayers money. Obviously the Hungarian soccer is so bad that there is no way to make any profit on the stadiums. An other week thought out “investment” from taxpayers money brought to you by Fidesz, supported by the alike of Kovach.
    I say lets gee the contract to Kovach, as he knows that everything Fidesz does is success!
    http://nol.hu/sport/nagy-erdo-1453589

  21. About the fine for ATV. Incredible. ATV also broadcast the Saturday Fidesz demonstration in its entirety. ATV was the only station that showed both. MTV naturally showed only the Fidesz gathering. Justice Fidesz style.

  22. Eva I liked your Galamus article particularly the idea that it is difficult to determine where Fidesz ends and the Jobbik begin. Maybe the coming election results will reveal more on that relationship. I also thought your reflections about the current relationship between Fidesz/Orban/Hungary and the Russian Federation/Putin were interesting. There is a new stressor on the horizon for the Orban/Putin relationship and that is the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), of the European Union that covers defense and military aspects, as well as civilian crisis management.

    A document, titled “Smarter Defense: A Public-Private Partnership for CSDP,” has now been leaked. It is discussed by Jan Techau the director of Carnegie Europe in an article appearing on Judy Dempsey’s blog. http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/?fa=55189

    The long and short of this document is that Hungary and other EU members are going to come under greater pressure from the EU to increase their military spending. It is also inevitable that Putin will see this development as antithetical to Russian interests further stressing Hungary’s EU and NATO relationships.

  23. andy — Today 100 billion Euro loan agrrement signed :
    The news today: H. Government has now signed the secret loan agreement for 10 billion Euro with the Russian goverment, to be repaid in Euros of course… The terms are not public, the signature occurred just 5 days before elections for a potential new government…

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about: if the government can’t pay the Russians, they’ll just ask for Margit and Hajo Sziget in exchange….

  24. Some1 w rites: “15 years old students were tested two years ago. Are you saying that the participants of the blog are 17 years old? Eva, you are forever young!
    You are scaring me, just like many of Fidesz supporters who do not know to much about the word around them , and running around with false propaganda and live on assumptions.”

    So according to you, the phenomenon is typical only for currently 17 year olds? Who is teaching them? Not other 17 year olds surely. It is a phenomenon of whole generations. Based on you not understanding that only proves the point.

    BTW What does it have to do with Fidesz????

  25. We just tried to watch the news on M1 – my wife started to swear “Mafiosi, mafiosi” when all those loonies from Fidesz appeared on screen. I was more astonished by how badly dressed many of them were …
    Most of the representatives of the other parties looked a bit crazy too (at least to me) – like the guy who wanted Kadar back (forgot his name).

    It’s really time to get over this and prepare for the time after Fidesz – maybe in four years Hungary has a chance to return to democracy!

  26. Viktor Khan
    or a vision in a dream

    In Felsöcsut did Viktor Khan
    A splendid stadium decree:
    Where Val the sacred river, ran
    Through caverns measureless to man
    Down to a sunless sea.
    So twice five miles of fertile ground
    With walls and towers were girdled round:
    And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
    Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
    And here were forests ancient as the hills,
    Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

    Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
    Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
    Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
    And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
    And ‘mid this tumult Viktor heard from far
    Ancestral voices prophesying war!

    His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
    Weave a circle round him thrice,
    And close your eyes with holy dread,
    For he on honey-dew hath fed,
    And drunk the milk of Paradise.

    http://www.pesterlloyd.net/html/1414waehltfidesz.html

  27. The German-language Pester Lloyd has been getting better – and more critical of the Hungarian government in recent times. Here’s a typical picture from Budapest:

  28. petofi :

    andy — Today 100 billion Euro loan agrrement signed :
    The news today: H. Government has now signed the secret loan agreement for 10 billion Euro with the Russian goverment, to be repaid in Euros of course… The terms are not public, the signature occurred just 5 days before elections for a potential new government…

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about: if the government can’t pay the Russians, they’ll just ask for Margit and Hajo Sziget in exchange….

    Fools errand – no doubt.
    Just look at the date!

  29. Louis Kovach :
    Tappanch writes: “Hungarian students performed the WORST among OECD non-immigrant students in categories “planning and executing” and “monitoring and reflecting”.
    I am not surprised many of the commenters evidently studied there….

    Louis Kovach :
    Some1 w rites: “15 years old students were tested two years ago. Are you saying that the participants of the blog are 17 years old? Eva, you are forever young!
    You are scaring me, just like many of Fidesz supporters who do not know to much about the word around them , and running around with false propaganda and live on assumptions.”
    So according to you, the phenomenon is typical only for currently 17 year olds? Who is teaching them? Not other 17 year olds surely. It is a phenomenon of whole generations. Based on you not understanding that only proves the point.
    BTW What does it have to do with Fidesz????

    I apologize as it seems you have some learning disability. I replied to your comment where you wrote “I am not surprised many of the commenters evidently studied there….”. THe conversation was about how badly the CURRENT youngsters performed. THese are the kids who’s education Fidesz / Orban / Hoffman supposed to reform.
    So, the subjects are 15 years old, and has nothing to do what we studied 20 or more so years ago in Hungary. It is after the “reform” of Fidesz.
    I hope it it clears it up for you, now that you can read it “side by side”.

  30. What do you say to this:

    http://nol.hu/belfold/az-vesz-akinek-engedik-1453583

    In short, from the first of May the state can take anyone’s leased land away and give it to someone else for a nominal fee – or even free of charge – furthermore, local comities will have the right to decide, whether or not to approve your buying of a piece of land..!

    My only question is, did the people of the Hungarian countryside really became so dumb – or numb already – that let this happen, let alone, vote for these thieves and robbers, or the communications – blockade so effective that they haven’t got a clue?

    In any event, isn’t the “opposition” should put in all they’ve got to spread this information?

    Just wondering, nothing serious, really…if you’re comfortable with being treated as humble servants of His Highness Orbán, being enslaved in your own country by your own government, that is…
    Otherwise you may say NO, you know that, do you?

  31. What I find shocking is that the MSZP have done nothing about this. Why are they so passive and ineffective? I do take my hat off to Rebeka Szabó (LMP, PM) who is basically a biologist who has fallen into politics, who had done a pretty good job bringing this to public attention and recently won a legally binding courtcase so that the contracts have to be published. But MSZP have done nothing (and they need to reestablish themselves in the countryside.) Maddening

  32. Louis Kovach :
    Tappanch writes: “Hungarian students performed the WORST among OECD non-immigrant students in categories “planning and executing” and “monitoring and reflecting”.
    I am not surprised many of the commenters evidently studied there….

    I studied at Carleton University which is no great shakes. I discovered this when I audited a lecture at Cambridge some years later. (I didn’t put that on my CV as many **shole Fidesz types have, though.) But anyway, Carleton University, as low on the totem pole of universities it is, is still about 5 times better than anything the hapless Hungarian can find in heroic Hungary.

  33. spectator :

    petofi :

    andy — Today 100 billion Euro loan agrrement signed :
    The news today: H. Government has now signed the secret loan agreement for 10 billion Euro with the Russian goverment, to be repaid in Euros of course… The terms are not public, the signature occurred just 5 days before elections for a potential new government…

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about: if the government can’t pay the Russians, they’ll just ask for Margit and Hajo Sziget in exchange….

    Fools errand – no doubt.
    Just look at the date!

    Some joke: The governments just signed a 10billion euro loan. As I’ve written before, Russian
    government project–ie. Bolshoi Theatre refurbishment–was budgeted at a monstrous 700 million dollars but 5 years later–the work still not finished–they had spent 7 billion dollars….an increase of a factor of 10.

    Let’s transfer that factor to the Paks project and lo and behold, we’ll have a cost of 10 billion x 10 = 100 billion.
    Not much of a joke now, is it?

  34. @Some1

    “How was he able to pull this off without Orban knowing about it?”

    Orban NOT knowing..??? Surely you’re kidding.

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